Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bolton at work reforming the UN

From Reuter's.

(Highlighted words inserted by me)

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 23 (Reuters) - U.N. General Assembly President Jean Ping said on Tuesday he wanted to try a new negotiating tactic to complete work on a comprehensive U.N. reform plan after the United States (BOLTON) raised extensive objections to the most recent draft.

Ping, who also is Gabon's foreign minister, said the document had to respect the ideas of all 191 U.N. members. But because it was unwieldy to bargain among 191 countries, "We are seeing the possibility of having a smaller group, a core group, to negotiate," he said.

Many developing nations also were unhappy with large parts of the document, diplomats said .A core group of 20 to 30 nations, including the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, would be named to resolve remaining differences in the reform plan in time for a U.N. world summit opening in three weeks in New York, Ping told reporters.

That would ensure Washington (BOLTON) a seat at the table to make its case, along with other permanent council members Russia, China, France and Britain. Until now, the drafting has been conducted informally, in hopes of keeping the focus on the whole package and off the details.

The reform document, intended to serve as a blueprint for bringing the world body into the 21st century, touches on a broad range of issues from U.N. management reform -- a top U.S. (BOLTON) priority -- to combating poverty, overhauling the U.N. human rights mechanism and curbing the spread of nuclear arms.

If completed on time, it would be adopted by more than 170 world leaders at the close of the Sept. 14-16 U.N. summit.

Ping unveiled his idea for a core group a week after John Bolton (BOLTON), Washington's new U.N. ambassador, floated the idea of scrapping or renegotiating major portions of the draft paper, a move some diplomats feared would sink the initiative. One option put forward by Bolton (BOLTON) was to launch line-by-line negotiations on the document, starting from scratch. Another was to replace the current 38-page draft with a punchier three-page version.

The group would focus on issues where there was the most disagreement including terrorism, U.N. human rights reform, disarmament, development, U.N. management reform and the world's responsibility to intervene in countries practicing genocide and other egregious rights violations, he said. With time at a premium, he hoped to name the core group members (TO ASSIST BOLTON) "as soon as possible," Ping said.

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